‘KEEP, NOT LET GO’
Alicja Dołowska talks with a sociologist, prof. Andrzej Zybertowicz from University of Mikołaj Kopernik in Toruń, about our necessity to part with a sentimental vision of democracy and who is a skilful patriot
ALICJA DOŁOWSKA: - There were many nationwide and local manifestations in the defence of Television Trwam for a place in the digital multiplex, supported by collected 2.5 million signatures of citizens, before the National Broadcasting Council granted the right to the Catholic Television station. You called it a success of the civic society, but at what cost? What democracy is it, Professor? After all, the pluralism of media is inscribed in its essence.
PROF. ANDRZEJ ZYBERTOWICZ: - We should finally reject the sentimental vision of democracy and naive vision of social life generally promoted by some media and some naive investigators. The social game is a game of interests. Here I will quote a known saying, which freemasons like repeating: There is nothing like a free lunch.
So, what is the reason that somebody could get an instrument to defend his interests, if he is weak and cannot organize himself? A weak person – as long as there is not such a necessity – is not given any tools to strengthen his position. Somebody who can organize himself around his interests well, he gains more. It was a test of the strength of influence, organizational and mobilization abilities. It is time to reject the sentimental vision of democracy, which results in naive demanding attitude, because it pushes us into the mentality of a slaver.
– The place in the multiplex belonged to the Television Trwam, like, sorry for saying that, ‘a bowl to a dog’, and the fight for this place required extremely much energy from Poles.
– So, there is more satisfaction. Besides, we should reject this illusion that we can deserve salvation by lying on the beach. In order to achieve both salvation and guaranteeing one’s rights in the earthy dimension, much persistent effort is needed.
– Various forms of the civic mobilization are going to make the authorities start a democratic debate which does not take place in Poland. It is replaced by the street, collecting signatures under suggestions of various referendums. But, isn’t it a scandal, if not only the prime minister but also the president of the Polish Republic are suggesting citizens not participating in the referendum about dismissal of the president of Warsaw? After all, the Civic Platform has the adjective ‘civic’ in its name. Is it a right way to create our civic attitude which is so fragile anyway?
– It is not such a scandal what they are doing because they are simply taking care of their interests. But the scandal is the fact that so many Poles were deceived by the citizenship of the Civic Platform, the message of Donald Tusk and Bronisław Komorowski. Today they, being pushed against the wall, are giving a real message revealing their interests: you are not to be citizens. You are not to talk with compatriots about important issues or try to convince them. The two most important politicians in the country are appealing: ‘Residents of Warsaw, who appreciate president Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, try to convince your co-residents, that it is worth going to a referendum, in order to prove, with your votes, that she governs well’. Those politicians cannot believe that they can find arguments for the sake of their matter. They are not representatives of the common interests, they are not spokesmen of the democratic social law and order. They come down to the level of propagandists who achieved the authority under the motto of citizenship, in order to represent various interests, including the ones behind the scenes. I will repeat: the scandal is rather the fact that so many compatriots started believing in their ‘civilian’ message. And the scandal is our weakness – that is, the fact that we cannot talk with our compatriots and show them who is a dyed fox, and who serves to the national interest. In blocking the right of the Television Trwam to the place in the multiplex, it was all about making it impossible to open Poles’ eyes to the real course of events, about restriction of the pluralism.
– You suggest, that this authority is afraid because social atmosphere and effects of the Civic Platform government are such that within normal democratic procedures the prime minister Tusk will not maintain the authority. The Democratic Leftist Alliance even says that the reset of the authority is needed. However, this authority has too much to lose: can we expect earlier elections or more provocations?
– I think we can expect the latter ones, because the situation for the Civic Platform is too risky for earlier elections. It seems to me that the result of elections complementary in Rybnik, the result of referendum, and later elections in Elbląg, in the Carpathians, an appeal for referendum in Warsaw and federal conclusions in other parts of the country – show that a wagon of democratic mobilization of Poles is finally accelerating. People start learning to be active. After Rybnik and Elbląg they start believing that it is possible to achieve something with democratic instruments. If only this wagon went along a normal track, then after Rybnik and Elbląg there are going to be Warsaw and Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Later Donald Tusk would be for a photo ex officio, and finally, Bronisław Komorowski. So, we have attempts to hinder the process of democratic mobilization with various instruments, and one of these instruments is encouragement for non-participation in the referendum. But besides it, there is a concept of raising the threshold of attendance, which the referendum must exceed, so that it would be important. So, in a situation when we had façade democracy to much extent, it starts becoming lively in a realistic way, the president of the Polish Republic wants to restore its façade image.
– What can be done to prevent it?
– There is no other way than the one thanks to which the concession for the Television Trwam was gained. I will remind what was said in 1997 by John Paul II from a window of the clinic Gemelli in Rome to delegates of ‘Solidarność’: ‘Keep and do not let go’. We should not have illusions that democracy is working properly, and the Polish national interest is secure. We must talk, open others’ eyes, build bridges of communication. They – the current party of the authority – want us to lose completely an ability to talk with one another about difficult matters. We should use the space of democracy which exists, because it may shrink. But if it shrinks, it happens with our permission.
– In September there are going to be social protests…
– We should remember, that it is the president who initiated a law which impeded the registering of public meetings. It was the president who signed the law which impeded an access to the public information. The president acting so, appears more clearly as a representative of interests of the system of the Third Polish Republic behind the scenes, not as a representative of the Polish raison d’etat.
– He also stands on the guard of the Constitution of the Polish Republic. Isn’t it a breach of the Constitution, in which colours of the national flag were established and the symbolics of the Polish emblem, that an eagle of chocolate appeared on Flag Day in front of the Presidential Palace, and instead of white-red flags – there were pink balloons?
– We must ask a lawyer constitutionalist about it. I can only give an answer as a sociologist – also analysing the mechanisms of propaganda. Here, it is all about blurring a contrast between the white and the red, between service to homeland and apostasy. Let’s change the white-red flag into a pink-bland-grey flag and let’s change our psyche into the psyche of somebody who is sitting in front of TV with a pack of six bottles of beer and is watching ‘A dance with bastards’.
– The announcement of September union protests against raising the retirement age, junk contracts or unbeneficial amount of time for workers, caused an immediate attack on unionists as idlers and scaring with an act, which may eradicate union committees from plants, dismiss functionary unionists from their posts at work. This game is being participated by the legend ‘Solidarność’, an organizer of the August strike in Gdańsk Shipyard – today the senate marshal Bogdan Borusewicz. The giggle of history is heard….
– The legend is often a bluff. Like in a poker, one day a moment comes: ‘I check’ and it turns out what somebody represents with his person. Years ago, he had a character to oppose to somebody stronger, and now he is going hand to hand with the stronger person. Many revolutionists landed on a sofa in saloons of somebody stronger. Sometimes it happens that when a social wave is coming, one can only jump into a particular moment and the man can do something good. Later when he is supposed to make a difficult choice on his own, he gets confused.
– Can the organization in Warsaw be a kind of provocation on 11 November, the Independence Day, a climatic summit meeting to which alter- globalists usually come and they allow for brawls?
– There is more and more evidence that a lot of media write that the climatic summit meetings is a waste of money. There are opinions that, in fact, Marcin Korolec cares about promoting himself in international institutions, so that he could find a highly –paid post in one of them. This situation reminds me of an alcoholic who sets fire to a shop with alcohol, in order to join rescue action and in this way, take half a litre for himself (the analogy is different but the essence is similar).Does Poland have to waste 100 million from the public means, in order to enable its minister to gain a post for himself, worth a few hundred thousand euros or dollars a year? I would like what I am saying to be fair, but the way in which the summit meeting is being prepared shows, that either we are dealing with a shocking incompetence – incompetence of arranging these dates – or with cynical manipulation. The final responsibility belongs to the prime minister. Either he allowed for being involved in to the game of Korolec or he accepted the rule: ‘Korolec is doing his things, but he will not allow the Civic Platform to promote this summit meeting as a source of the national pride’. And media in friendship will help in the propaganda of success, like in the case of Euro 2012. But this is another distraction of attention from problems of the country. I already see headings of European newspapers, quoted in our country, that Poland organized this summit meeting perfectly. And it will also be an occasion to show that irresponsible ‘dwarfs of reaction’ disrupt the social law and order and there will also a pretext to try to restore a bogey of the Law and Justice party.
When the prime minister and president are sending a signal to residents of Warsaw: ‘Do not go to the referendum’, they are revealing their scepticism that they can defend themselves in the debate with arguments of good governing in Warsaw and Poland. They can defend their posts and the authority of the Civic Platform and the Polish Peasant Party with a bogey that it would be much worse for Poles with the Law and Justice party. They must play with the card of fear. It look as if Tusk and Komorowski did not believe in the civic democracy; they believe in democracy of fear.
Their vision, which is indirectly articulated by Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, is that only the Civic Platform is a guarantee of stability in Poland. The guarantee of the foreign capital, foreign politicians and for native business. And when there is no Platform, in Poland there will be a big confusion which will cause that everything will collapse. As if they did not want to recall themselves the fact that during the cadence of the Law and Justice party, there was a significant growth of foreign capital inflow into Poland. So, those governments did not bring harm to economy, but – they enabled maintaining good developmental trends.
– There is an attack not only on ‘Solidarity’, on whose roots half of parliamentarians rely in Wiejska St., but it is even being fought against, because it stopped being needed. There are similar attack on the Church, which was helping oppositionists in difficult times, accommodating them in rectories and giving them food. And now, they are spitting at church hierarchies, they are trying to discredit them. Why, do you think?
– Interests, ‘jams’, pride. Some people believed that they are great and clever. Fear against community is obvious, because the Catholic culture is a reservoir of the community, on whose basis the Polish interest can be protected. And they decided that there are more powerful forces than tradition, than history, and even than the Church as an organized community. They gave support to corporations, to Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, to the European bureaucracy, to the consumptive culture. They decided that it is not their convenient way with these forces, and Poland of our dreams is too weak, to go with it. As long as do not show that we can organize ourselves, as long as the archipelago of Polishness does not get integrated into islands and peninsulas, they will support those outer decision-making centres.
– You say, that today it is not enough to be a patriot. It is necessary to be a skilful patriot. How to understand it?
– A skilful patriot looks for new actions, new forms of communication. He knows, that after some time, when one talks with confused people, who gave in anti-Polish, anti-national propaganda, it is impossible to tell the truth face to face. The truth wins without any weapon. It reaches when it is given in small portions. If we put ‘Polish newspaper’,‘W Sieci’ or ‘Our Journal’ on the table for somebody who lived for a longer time in a ‘newspaper election’ matrix, he will look at the very titles and leaders and…..will reject such psychic set books. Many people cannot take the truth with big gulps. Cleverness must be based on giving information in portions. Similarly as it is impossible to pour a litre of liquid to the human vein at once. It must happen drop by drop. A skilful patriot is patient, gives the truth in small portions in an intelligent way.